PHILADELPHIA — The Eagles, losers of three consecutive games, qualify as one of the NFL’s most disappointing teams. They are 5-7 and only because the Cowboys (6-7) are not much better is there an actual playoff chase — more like a crawl — going on in the NFC East.
Strangely, the Eagles have yet to face the Giants, as the two Jersey Turnpike rivals will face each other twice in the last month of the season. So, the Eagles did not yet get to go against rookie Daniel Jones and, with Jones sidelined with a high ankle sprain, instead get familiar Eli Manning for Monday night’s game at Lincoln Financial Field.
It figures the Giants will look like what they were with Manning all these years, but that is not the expectation the Eagles take into the game.
“No, I don’t anticipate that at all,’’ Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said. “I think that, obviously, having Eli have a chance to kind of watch from the sideline, to kind of observe and see how things have gone on the last few weeks, I think that’s just going to help — not only help him, but it’s going to help sort of jazz up the football team and kind of motivate the football team.
“One of the things, one of Eli’s strengths obviously, is how he distributes the football to multiple people and that’s something that he’s been able to do throughout his career and be successful. I don’t think it goes back to the old way at all. I think it’s something that Eli has probably sat and watched and observed and he’s going to use that to his advantage.’’
The Eagles could be without starters on each side of the ball. WR Nelson Agholor (knee) and DE Derek Barnett (ankle) missed multiple days of practice this past week and are listed as questionable.
Saquon Barkley is 0-2 against the Eagles despite rushing for 130 and 101 yards in the two losses last season. Barkley also caught 16 passes for 140 yards in the two games. Barkley is not putting up numbers like that this season.
“I still see the same guy that’s really explosive that can get the ball, can run with power behind his pads, can make guys miss in the hole,’’ Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins said. “A lot of people have been gang-tackling him, so he hasn’t had all of the explosive plays that we saw last year when it was his first year in the league and everybody was kind of getting used to him. But you know, he’s still in my opinion the toughest to tackle in the league right now at the running back position.’’
Rookie Julian Love will start again at strong safety in place of Jabrill Peppers, who this week was placed on injured reserve with a fracture in his back. … The all-time Giants-Eagles series is 83-83-2. If the Eagles win, they take the lead in the all-time series for the first time in the rivalry, which began in 1933.
Lost in all the losing is Riley Dixon’s strong season for the Giants. The 26-year-old punter was rewarded for his production with a three-year contract extension announced by the team on Sunday. Dixon is sixth in the NFL with a gross punting average of 47.0 yards. He was a 2016 seventh-round draft pick of the Broncos out of Syracuse and traded to the Giants before the 2018 season for a seventh-round pick.